Invisible, aesthetic, and enrolled listeners across storytelling modalities: Immersive preference as situated player type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immersive storytelling includes narrative experiences that take place in the public spaces of theaters, theme parks, museums, and historical reenactment sites; on tabletops, where role-playing games are collaboratively played; in fictional spaces superimposed on the real world during a live-action role-playing (larping) event; and in hybrid, asynchronous, and transmediated spaces that blend the digital, the virtual, and the real. Understood as a kind of boundary object, a player typology can incorporate multiple perspectives and heterogeneous sources of information, producing ‘ideal types’, which provide a framework for observation and discussion across immersive modalities. This paper offers a typology of situated immersive preference, in which narrative immersion and embodied immersion are understood to vary independently of one another. Along the vertical axis listener-players of immersive storytelling experiences are classified as narratively attached, narratively detached, or narratively opposed. Across the horizontal axis of embodied engagement, listener-players are classified as invisible, aesthetic, or enrolled. Nine ideal types emerge at the intersection of these narrative and embodied preferences. Why someone might fit into one category rather than another reflects comfort rather than personality. Situated immersive types are understood to be fluid and temporary configurations. The degree to which players are willing to engage and are comfortable with what they are being asked to do may differ dramatically from experience to experience and from day to day, and even during a single session, reflecting how they feel at a given moment, which is affected by who they are with and how they are perceived and treated by others. This framework for understanding immersive preferences calls for the design of more widely inclusive story worlds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Autoethnography
  • embodiment
  • immersion
  • immersive preference
  • immersive storytelling
  • inclusive design
  • narrative engagement
  • player types

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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